The Finding That Next Gear Podcast
Finding That Next Gear- Wealth Beyond Money: Unlocking The 6 Dimensions of Success for Richness in Every Area of Your Life with Ethan King
Here is another episode of “Finding that Next Gear” with Beau Billington. In this podcast, we interview Ethan King, an owner of multiple businesses, leader, and keynote speaker who educates and inspires creative minds to achieve a rich life of wealth, health, freedom, and happiness.
We talked about entrepreneurship and the “Six Dimensions of Success” which are Spirituality, Intellect, Money Mastery, Physical Presence, Love, and Entertaining Experiences.
Beau Billington with Ethan King
Hey everybody! Beau Billington here with finding that next gear. Got another episode coming at you live, and super excited to have Ethan King on today! Ethan, thanks for joining.
Thanks for being here, Beau, a huge fan of the show. And I love what you’re doing. So happy to be here.
Awesome man! I appreciate that I’ve got two podcasts. And this is the one that I enjoyed the most. I get to meet people like yourself, talking about entrepreneurship, which is kind of like what I always aspired to do since I was 16. So thanks for coming on, I really appreciate it.
Just to jump into things, let’s get a little bit deeper about the kind of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. And obviously, you got a lot going on, you’re a book author, which is great. Your speaker is awesome. And then you got a couple of different brands ranging from Zeus’ closet, to stuffer Greeks, as well as six-pack dads, which I think we need to talk about. I’m kind of on the verge, and I need a little bit of love there. But I’d love to learn a little bit more about you, you’re what you’re into currently. And how you got into this stuff.
Totally, scatterbrain! Right, all over the place.
That’s good. That’s important.
Well, first of all, I believe that life is short. And, but you can live a lot of different lives in one. And one of my mentors told me that I should reinvent myself every 10 years or so. And if you think about it, like if reinvention can mean different things, even if it’s just changing careers, or something, or kind of pivoting your business, you get an opportunity to live like five different lives. And one if you know, however, that math breaks down during your working life, instead of just doing one thing. So while I know that I could probably be a lot more financially successful if I just honed in on one thing.
Happiness is the ultimate measure of success. It’s not a $1 amount. Of course, we need money to live and function in life. And, don’t get me wrong. I like making money and I teach people how to make money. But that’s not the end all be all. Happiness, I look for a return on happiness. More than anything else, because you only get this one life.
Let me echo that’s kind of why I started my business as well. Just five years ago. We hit our fifth anniversary yesterday.
Thank you! It’s just crazy, a big milestone. I wish I jumped out earlier, to be honest with you. But when I first started, I told people, “Hey, I’m looking back on the first five years for me. The barometer of success is happiness, fulfillment, and am I still married, right?” So far, I’ve checked all those boxes, which is great. But I agree. I was in a mundane situation. That didn’t work for me. So I sought to break it. But I love the point about every 10 years, I think that’s amazing. And I’ve been trying to incorporate some things, and learn some new things here or there. But I can make that may be a mission. So I just wanted to kindly give kudos to you. I liked the mantra.
Well, let me go back and answer your questions that you asked about my background, that mentor who told me that was my high school art teacher. His name is Kevin Cole. And I still talk to him to this day, he’s still part of my life. And so that’s my background, I wanted to be growing up, I wanted to be an artist, like fine artists like drawing, painting, and sculpture. And my parents told me, you know, artists don’t make any money until after they’re dead.
So I was a stubborn kid, and I didn’t listen to them. And I decided that I was going to major in art anyway. And it turns out, they were right. It’s very hard for artists in a traditional sense, sure, to make a good living. So there was a conflict there because I wanted a great lifestyle. Like I grew up watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and just, I would just unapologetically, I wanted to be rich, but I also wanted to be an artist. So that was kind of a conflict
To have your cake and eat it too. But that specific career, I get it.
Exactly. So long story short, and I’ll talk about it more in my book, I will go deep into my backstory, but I made some bad decisions as a teenager and got arrested a couple of times. And got suspended from college for a semester for making bad choices. The president of the college actually, not what I’m saying Palace I’m talking about a major university, University of Georgia. So this was a big deal.
That’s my alma mater, as well. Oh, Go Dogs!
Love it. So yeah, President, I don’t know what usually happened when I was there, President Michael Adams called me to his office and he suspended me from school. I was lucky that he didn’t expel me. But I, fortunately, graduated with my art degree and a bit of a criminal record. So I was dead broke and ended up taking odd jobs going, I went back to art school and learned graphic design. So I could make some money with some of my artistic talents. And at night, I was taking out the trash at a strip club in Atlanta, which was a very grimy, dangerous strip club on the southside of Atlanta, and it was not a favorable time in my life.
In fact, in one of the most humiliating times in my life, I ended up doing graphic design for some of the DJs at the strip club. It was once I learned that I was a graphic designer, I was studying graphic design. And, of course, I couldn’t show any of that work in my portfolio to get around, because it was too raunchy. So that was a very dark time in my life. And I felt trapped, in a lifestyle that I wasn’t happy with. Especially growing up, I grew up, my dad was a preacher and grew up in the church. So there was a lot of guilt there, too. And I knew that I needed to make a change, but I didn’t know how to make that change. And I was scared to make that change. Well, one day, on my way to the strip club, I was for work, I was carjacked at gunpoint.
That was a tough, tough, tough time in your life.
So the robber took everything I thought he was gonna kill me. I took off running. And it was at that moment that I knew I needed to make a change. And I never went back to work in that industry again after that day. And I do not think it is a coincidence that my life completely turned around within about 30 days after that carjacking happened. And I ended up finally getting a full-time real job as a graphic designer at that newspaper. Also, my freelance graphic design career kind of took off, we landed some big-name clients like Tyler Perry before he was Tyler Perry and I was able to work with him for about 10 years and design all of his books and graphics and merchandise for the stage.
He and he’s a huge inspiration too and I can tell you some of the learnings that I got from him. And I also had a side business that I had started with my girlfriend as a school project called stuff for Greeks. And what we did there is we designed custom gear for the fraternities and sororities on campus because I was in a frat she was in a sorority, so I use my graphic design skills to design stuff for the Greeks. And so we called it stuff for Greeks. And it was a school project. But about a couple of years later, after that carjacking, isn’t it? We started getting real orders from across the country.
So you just had a website kind of hung up there that you didn’t do anything with. And then all of a sudden, you start getting emails, or what yeah,
It was sitting there, it was a real website because for the school project, we had to do it as a branding exercise. So we had to create a website for a fictitious company, do the business cards, the letterhead, you know, all that kind of thing, the logo, and so it was sitting there in real life. And I was doing some projects for my friends anyway, just because it was fun for me, and my fraternity. But then, I think it’s a real testament to anyone out there who’s starting a business, or very new to your business. It’s that moment when you get an order from someone who you who’s a stranger, and not your mom or your best friend. And you’re like, Whoa, this is real. And then you get another order. And it’s like, then you start to hone in on what’s working. That’s when I knew this thing had legs.
And what happened is this, I’m telling my age here, but this was when Google was new. So early, like the 2000s. And our SEO or search engine optimization was just dialed into the point where we were at the number one listing in Google.
SEO didn’t exist at the time.
It existed but nobody knew what it was. It was still a new term. But here we are at the top of Google. This was before Google even offered sponsored ads if anybody can believe that. But it’s just boom, boom, boom. So when anybody in the Greek world across the US was searching for Greek paraphernalia, and fraternity sorority jackets, we were coming up number one, so that’s how we ended up getting the business. And we’re still one of the top providers. This is now 20 years later. And stuff for boots is still one of the top recognized companies in the world of Greek paraphernalia
That didn’t say Nelson’s I read you started it for 700 bucks I guess that was in the spin class to kind of be able to design unless you did it yourself into the host and that’s a crazy story. You don’t hear about that type of scenario that often where you just kind of fall backward into a viable business. And now it’s recognized globally.
Well, here’s the thing you have to lean in. And I want to tie the bow on that story. We, so when we first launched for Greeks with that $700, and that was literally, so my girlfriend, and I, so we didn’t. We started the business, we formed the legal entity after we got the first paid order from a stranger. So that order happened to be $300. And so that’s when we knew it had legs because we had some other orders from friends and stuff. And we said, Okay, well, let’s open a business bank account so that we can borrow this thing and you know, get a bank loan and buy some equipment. But we need to have an account.
So you put in 350, I put in 350. So instead of going Dutch to the movies we want to be done, we went Dutch on a business trip together. Yeah. So she put in our 700 and the 300, from the first order, opened our bank account with $1,000. And grew a lot from there. But the thing is, a pivotal point in the early stages of our business, is that we were only doing the design work, and then we would send it to you that was our offer. You pay us it was a service-based business, you pay us for the design work. Let’s say we’re designing your sorority jacket, we send you the design via email, and you go to your local shop and get the jacket made. Well, customers would come back after they got the design and said, I don’t have anywhere to get this made. I want you to make it. And I’m like, I don’t know how to make a jacket. What do you mean? I’m just gonna go find some old lady with?
I do. Yeah,
That’s not what I do. Well, then more people asked for that. And we finally want to just sit. Okay, yes, we’ll do it. And this girl paid us a few $100 to make her sorority jacket. And now I knew I had to figure it out to fulfill because unless you pay me money, I’m going to over-deliver it and figure out how to get it done. Now it’s real, that you’ve paid me money. And we did that. And that’s how we ended up pivoting into the apparel space, which is where we are now.
So then we took stuff for Greeks kept growing and growing. We were working out of our home basement. We had one machine, two machines, three machines, we ended up having eight employees coming to our house, and neighbors were complaining. So we had to get out of the house. And this is one thing I learned from Tyler Perry. He always said own it. So we didn’t want to lease a commercial space. We were fortunate enough to be able to buy an office building in West Midtown Atlanta, which at the time was Midtown was kind of a desolate industrial area, but now blown up yet it’s blown up and booming.
So we bought that office building and moved out of our home basement. We opened a retail store because now we had extra space available. So we tried a retail store concept. And we decided to call Zeus’ closet because we didn’t want to be limited to the Greek market. And Zeus’ closet, now we do things for a corporation, like corporate swag school uniforms. We do wardrobes for the film and TV industry. So about half of our business is still fraternity and sorority related. And the other half is all of that kind of stuff.
I remember one pivot table Pivotal moment in my life, Zeus’ closet was growing so rapidly that we got the Bulldog 100 Award, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. It recognizes the 100 fastest growing companies owned by UGA Alumni. Now we’ve been fortunate to make that list four times. But the first time that we received that award, I stepped on stage. And guess who handed me the award. President Michael Adams, the same president who had suspended me from college a decade earlier, was now presenting me with a business award.
And I gotta ask, Did he remember?
Oh, who knows? I have no idea. You know, we were on stage.
That could have been a big bowl. It was like “Hey, man, you ever did the worst thing!”
Probably at that time, I didn’t want to take a chance on messing anything up or probably had in the back of my mind that they might take it away from me. But I remembered him for sure. I don’t know if he remembered me for 10 years. But for me, that was a pivotal moment because it was like a full circle. It gave me validation that now my life was on track and I was in alignment with my purpose for the universe if you will. And that was just a great moment in my life I love to share.
A great story is interesting about how your journey kind of got you to where you are now and you had to go through the situation in college. You probably had to get suspended for a semester or go work at the strip club, get cards to act on those things. Part of your journey and course, they’re all unfortunate. And it sounded like a dark time at that moment. But you likely wouldn’t be here had you not gone through those moments and then had that kind of lightbulb moment where like, this is, this is not who I am, preacher’s son like I need to, I need to kind of change some things.
And so a couple of questions for you. So, you started to suffer Greeks in college, and then kind of went through that journey while that website was just kind of hanging out there in the ether. Right? And then fast forward to today? And are you still business partners with the girlfriend a lot of times, business partnerships, and I’ve been through a couple that hasn’t gone well. Don’t always end well, especially over such a long time horizon.
Yeah, I am. We are still business partners. And we’ve been married 19 years now. We have two amazing kids, a boy, and a girl, ages seven and eleven.
Your wife is the business partner and I didn’t know that because you said, my girlfriend. How does the story end? Right. So that’s so cool. So you guys work in the business together for both? Zeus’ closet as well as suffer Greeks,
Got it. Okay. That’s awesome, man. So let’s talk about a great backstory. I appreciate you sharing that. Let’s talk a little bit about today. What’s your role for the company? You mentioned you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, which interests me. I’m always interested in multiple revenue streams, and I think it’s important, especially for an entrepreneur. But what’s your role now for Zeus’ closet? And is it kind of getting the name and getting the brand out there? Are you still day-to-day? Are you running operations? What does that look like?
So I do a lot of public speaking now. So I’m often traveling, or doing virtual stuff like we’re doing now. And I’m a spokesperson for I’m an advocate of just improving your life overall. And I believe entrepreneurship is a great vehicle to help you improve your life. If you do it, right. It can also lead to a lot of misery. But it’s what my book “Wealth beyond money” is about now, that does end up boosting our business and Zeus’ closet, that wasn’t the intent of what I do.
But as far as the day-to-day part of it, we do have an awesome team that runs the company, I do manage the marketing part of it, the sales and marketing side of it more so. And my wife manages the HR, payroll, insurance, that type of thing, some of the admin and clerical stuff on her back, she was a business major, I was an art major. So we kind of stay in our lane, and we complement each other well, in that regard. And I do also see, I do currently see people for sales appointments, for some of the sales appointments that get booked in one of our locations.
Got it. So you’re essentially there helping with the brand and the image and stuff like that, well, I want to go back to the comedy made a second ago about entrepreneurship, and how that can impact your life and enrich your life but also to there’s an inverse to that, where it could go the other way.
And I mentioned to me what was important was that I was married after five years when I reflected on my journey. And I have found it personally, and I have to say I’m pretty self-aware, which I think is an important trait of entrepreneurship. But I feel like this has been a great journey for me as well because it’s helped me bubble up to my gaps. Like it’s helped me understand, like, where I’m deficient, and areas in which I need to improve. And then, of course, you know, you need to go on that journey to improve those areas. But is that kind of what you were talking about? How entrepreneurship can make you into a better person?
Yeah, I mean, the big thing I believe in is a personal responsibility. And when I encounter people who are unhappy with their situation in life, and a lot of the errors, the flawed thinking I see is people who have a victim mentality, or have a mentality that somebody is supposed to take care of them.
Well, nobody’s coming to save you in life, the government’s not gonna save you, your parents can’t save you. You have to just grab the reins and take ownership of every area of your life. And in my book, I talk about the “Six dimensions of success”. And those are just an acronym called and it spells the word “SIMPLE”. And it is Spirituality, your Intellect, your Money mastery, your Physical presence, your Love, which is your relationships, and your Entertaining experiences. And in each of those six buckets of life, if you think about them in terms of not life balance, but contextual, constant, like calibration of those six areas from day to day based on what’s going on in your life. I believe that you truly can have it all but you have to be aware of which buckets need to be filled in which are already at a good level so that you can adjust accordingly. But it’s up to you to do that, because if you wait on someone else to do it, that time may never come. And then you’re just going to be irritated in disgruntled with, with life overall,
Miserable 24/7, I agree, you need to take accountability. And I kind of went through that journey as well, where I was in corporate America, I was like, 16, 17 years. And it was like, like office space, you know, every day of my life was the worst day and like, you know, outside of work, I was fulfilled, life was great. But during the workday nine to five, when I spend the majority of my time I was unhappy.
And I came to that realization as well. It’s like, you know, well, I can do this for the next 40 years and just be a miserable person. Or I can take charge and make a change. And for me, entrepreneurship was a change. That made sense, obviously, for other people. That doesn’t make sense. But I completely agree that you know, at some point, if something’s not working, well, it’s time to look at other options and change it. Otherwise, you’re just destined for a very lonely and disappointing world.
And I want to be clear here, I’m not telling everybody just go out, quit your job and start a business.
That’s not what I heard.
But I do believe that living in America, we have a great opportunity to have a side hustle. And you get those tax benefits, you can have your full-time corporate job, which can give you a nice lifestyle, a nice income because the great thing about having a job is you can shut it off at 5 pm or 6 pm. Right? Being an entrepreneur, you really can’t shut it off. When you own it, it’s hard to be able to shut it off.
Quick, you know, the brain starts working.
But if you can have the best of both worlds, because, for a time, we had that where I had my full time job at the newspaper. But in the evenings, I was Moonlighting, growing my business. So a lot of times the story gets sensationalized by entrepreneurs or it gets edited. And you think, oh, this person just jumped in, took this leap of faith, and it all worked out. No, I was very careful. Like, I had my job doing the business on the side, and my wife had her job working as an insurance broker in corporate America.
She was helping grow the business on the side, I left once the business grew to a certain point, then I resigned from my full-time job and worked the business full time, we were still living off of my wife’s income. And she had great benefits because she worked in employee benefits. And then a year later, we grew the business to a point where she could leave her job. So it was a gradual thing. And I want to be sure that I talk about this on this podcast because I don’t want to give people the illusion that you just throw everything, throw caution to the wind, and jump in. And it all works out.
Because that’s the essence of this podcast, though. And I agree because all you see in the paper is sensationalized. You know, somebody who created a $100 million business which is all a bunch of BS, I mean, to get to the five-year point has been the most exciting and exhausting experience of my entire life. It’s not easy. And I did the same. I started the company two years before jumping out, got it to 80% of the way, had enough savings, had a game plan, jumped out was cautious, was strategic, was watching my cash flow just to make sure that I didn’t run out of cash while forecasting so yeah, no, I agree. And I don’t think anybody who’s listening is under the assumption that it’s yeah, just quit your job. Don’t even have a concept and get out there. Yes, it’s not that easy. And this is real life. I mean, you were married, or I don’t know when you guys got married, but you’ve got kids. I mean, there’s a lot more at stake here than living with mom. You know, thinking, hey, I’m just gonna create some software in the background.
But that’s a great time. That’s the best time to start it while you’re living with mom you said I wish I did. Yeah. Because once you get older and you accumulate more and more responsibilities, then it gets mentally harder to risk more because it’s like, oh, well, now I have children and I have a mortgage. And so if I encourage people what the younger you are, man, go out there and try as much as you can. Because you don’t have as much to lose.
Agree. Yeah, I mean, we were in the money trap, you know, real again, two kids in private school just built a house. And then I come and tell my wife that I’m gonna jump out of corporate America. I mean, her head was about to explode. She’s an attorney, so she didn’t understand it was very risk-averse. But that’s a topic for another day. This is about you. A couple more questions. We’ll get you out of here. And I appreciate the story and sincerely spending the time here. So it was there. Has there been a time within the last 20 years where you thought about hanging it up like sincerely thinking about hanging it up because it was too difficult, sales were down, or maybe you just got burned out because that’s a real thing?
Man, you know what Beau? We went through this very dark time in our business, where we ended up in a business dispute with a brand that we admit we were partnered with for years. And all of a sudden, they got new leadership and decided that they were going to expose this loophole in a contract that we had signed with them. And they didn’t just do this to us, but several other companies. And they took us to court, we went through it. So we went through a nasty lawsuit. And it was scary. It was at a time when our business had very, very thin margins, we had actually…
Fragile all the way around, fragile
And ironically, we had just joined Do we just graduated to that million-dollar mark in revenue. But our margins were razor-thin. We might have even lost money that year. And then taking on fighting that lawsuit, which was unfair, and abusive, from our point of view, cost us about $300,000 that we didn’t have. So we had to take on a very dangerous debt to fight that to survive.
Once you get to business. It’s a shame when these big companies literally just kind of use the smaller organizations. But that’s a topic for another day. Sorry, keep going.
No, definitely a David and Goliath moment. And we were David up against Goliath. And you asked about, thinking about hanging it up. When you’re going through that there’s always it’s like this, like a game of chess, you have to figure out what’s your best next move. And think 10 steps of hit step 10 steps ahead. And there’s always that possibility of maybe we just found bankruptcy. And that was scary to me, I didn’t want to go bankrupt, didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to lose like that. So we actually…
There’s also an ego hit too, right? I mean, it’s one thing to kind of lose a business. And the other is like, I failed.
Yeah, I failed. And I didn’t want to go up that way, either over some bully move, you’re not going to get beat up by the bully and get killed by the bully and go away. So we decided to fight back, and we ended up firing our lawyer. And the funny story with this, I was sharing this with my EO Forum, which is kind of like for your listeners, it’s kind of like a mastermind group of six to nine entrepreneurs. And we share everything confidentially, once per month, and help each other out. It’s like a peer support group. And they knew what I was going through.
And it got to a point where I felt like I didn’t have any more control over the situation. Because all I could do is make my move, send our offer to the other side, or send our demands and they send moves back. And it got to a point where I felt helpless. I’m like, there’s nothing else I can do about this situation. We’re losing money, but I’m just kind of trapped right here. And what I did was I decided to train for my first marathon. It’s right in the middle of all this like, what, what are you thinking that?
So for a few listeners who don’t know, a marathon is 26.2 miles, most people can’t just get up and run that in one day, you have to train for it, which requires hours and hours of training, like three hours of running every day, every other day. So it’s a big-time commitment. So I had to take time away. But I knew that I needed to do that. I needed a win, I needed a win. And I knew if I could challenge myself to finish that marathon, then that gives me a mental win. In the area. Remember, I talked about those six dimensions? Well, my money was down. I couldn’t do anything about that. And I wasn’t gonna let it but it was impacting everything else. It was impacting my relationship with my family. When I’m stressed out, I’m irritated because of this one matter. And now I’m taking it out on my kids or something.
It impacted my spirituality. So I was like, I’m not gonna let this pull me down. I’m gonna control what I can and take control of my fitness. And when there, I think it’s no coincidence that I made a better decision. And I ended up firing my attorney, getting a new attorney that had much bigger letterhead, but bigger letterhead, bigger guns, and we ended up counter suing that party. And we actually in the end prevailed for a fraction of the amount that they were asking for. And not only that, but we made changes to our business because of that, that actually boosted our business and we were much better for it now.
That’s awesome. I liked the balance you’ve mentioned and you were out of balance and adding that kind of marathon. That training into it kind of brought you back to an important level and I find myself kind of doing that as well. If something’s going on in business and I’m going out for runs, you know, making sure my fitness is high, which is very important. I think from an entrepreneurship perspective the clarity I mean, if I didn’t work out, I’d be on all kinds of beta-blockers. You gotta try to keep me, keep me still that’s, that’s a great story. I’m glad you guys prevailed in some form or fashion, it’s got more questions. So what do you find is that the number one trade of entrepreneurs that find success versus those that don’t?
Seeking out a tribe of mentors who know people who have been there, done that. So you don’t have to make those mistakes. Just like with me sharing with you about the mistakes that I’ve made in my journey. Well, hopefully, you or anyone else who’s listening to this can not have to, you can use that as a shortcut, that’s the fastest thing you can have to a shortcut in life. They say there are no shortcuts, that’s the next best thing is having mentors having people pour into you, who was I believe it was Jim Rohn, who said that you are the sum or the average of the five people you talk to the most.
And by the top two, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a two-way conversation. Talking to someone can be listening to their audiobooks, interviews, podcasts, interviews, and YouTube channel. But think about the five people who are who you want to be like, whether it’s business leaders, or people in your industry, or even just people who are crushing it in life that you’re like, I admire this person, I want to be like this person, they probably have a lot of content out there. And maybe pour that into your brain, instead of binging the other show on Netflix or, or talking to your neighbor who just wants to gossip all the time or whatever, be pouring stuff into your brain constantly. Because when I’m out there and running, most of the time, don’t listen to music anymore. I’m listening to business books, audiobooks, and podcasts. I’m constantly feeding my brain so that I am improving my body. And I’m sharpening my mind at the same time, every single day. And I see that trait in the most successful people.
That’s a phenomenal point. So I do have a tribe of mentors. And the great part about it is you can get information from them. But you don’t always have to listen to it, you can make your own decision at the end of the day. But I hadn’t thought about it from the perspective of podcasts and audiobooks where you literally may not have a personal connection with somebody, yet, you still have access to the brain, through podcasts.
And that’s a shift I am trying to make at this point when I go to the gym instead of listening to the same songs over and over the same playlist, incorporating, you know, some sort of audiobook, just so I can do more with the time that I’m taking out take care of my health. So I think that’s sage advice there. What’s one piece of advice you would give yourself? If you’d go back 20 years ago, with your entrepreneurs, your entrepreneur journey, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give yourself on maybe how you could have done things differently, they have maybe grown faster, et cetera.?
One piece of advice I would give myself is to know my worth so tell young Ethan Know your worth, I wasn’t charging enough for what I was delivering. And I see this happen a lot with creative people, more so than anyone else. But artists. The problem is, we love what we do so much that we feel guilty about charging for it sometimes. And I had that problem for a long time. I remember one moment when my wife walked in the door. And I had been sitting at the computer for hours working on this digitizing project for a client. And it was part of a jacket order. And she was like, she wanted me to spend time with her before we had kids. And she was like, yeah, what are you doing? And I was like, I’m working on this thing. She was like, Well, how much are you charging for that? Like, Well, I’m not charging anything. I’ll just throw it in as part of this. She was like, Are you serious? Why do you need to be charging money for that? So I did not understand my worth. And we have raised prices so many times throughout the years. And I’ve always every time we raise prices, I’m nervous about it. But after I do it, I’m so glad I did it. We’ve never raised prices and then lost money. We always just get more sales and get more money. It’s and it’s because I should have done that a long time ago, I wasn’t charging enough for the value that is delivered.
That’s a hard dynamic especially when he started the company is the pricing component and I found myself doing the same where I’ve raised prices I think just last year and a year before that I did because I finally realized I wasn’t charging enough and it also helps to kind of weed out maybe client clients that are not optimal. Right so there’s it’s to that but I agree with the point you made there and can appreciate it. I feel like especially when people start their business they just want to get a great paycheck even if it’s small and not worth you’re, you know, worth your time. All right lightning round here last this last session here. Appreciate you hearing us and joining me again. So what’s your favorite aspect about being your boss?
Freedom. I love to travel, am super passionate about travel, and I’ve had the freedom to travel to every continent. I’ve lost count of the number of countries and friends all over the world. But the ability to be able to do that is something that I do not take for granted. And I wish that for everyone. And it’s something I talk a lot about, in my book, “Wealth beyond money”, about living a life by design, living life on your terms, and being able to be the boss of your own life. Even if you don’t go on the road of entrepreneurship. As I said, I think everybody should at least explore having a side hustle. Well, that empowers you to have that freedom. And to me, the ultimate freedom is freedom, financial freedom, the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whoever you want. That is the ultimate freedom. And I enjoy that aspect of being my boss.
No, I agree. That’s great, what’s your least favorite part of being your boss?
You have to have a great team, you have to have great, no, no great business exists without great people behind it. The challenge with that is that people have their problems, their issues. And when you’re the boss, their problems become your problem. If somebody’s kid is out sick, and you’re depending on them to show up to work, and now they can’t show up at work. When you’re the boss. Now that’s your problem, especially when you’re small. Because now you have to fill in and do their thing, or somebody has to fill in and do their thing. Or maybe the stuff comes up in life or somebody decides to quit or somebody gets sick or gets hit by the proverbial bus. Well, now that’s your problem. So all of these problems become yours. And that’s the suckiest part of it to me,
You know that can be a challenge. So the two-part question is this biggest success, biggest failure.
You can succeed in the biggest failure. My biggest success comes from helping people. And it’s been a journey with speaking and becoming president of EO Atlanta. That opened my eyes to what it means to be a leader because EO Entrepreneurs Organization is a nonprofit. Everyone on the board of the chapter board is a volunteer. So being president of a chapter, I can’t dangle a paycheck over your head and say, I’m gonna fire you if you don’t do this thing. These are all bosses of multi-multimillion-dollar companies. They don’t have to do this.
So how do you convince them to do things you inspire them to lead you can’t lead by command, you have to lead by inspiration. So doing that one thing led to another having a very successful year as president of EO that led to another event called Global Leadership Academy where I got to meet with other EO past presidents from around the world. And I met the dean of EO learning whose name is Warren Rustin. He’s a super accomplished entrepreneur, he used to be an adviser to the President of the United States, Gerald Ford, he’s become a mentor of mine. And when I published my book, he wrote the foreword to my book, wealth beyond money.
And my book was just launched last month in March and became a number one international bestseller. And that is my biggest accomplishment, accomplishment to this date, not because of the money because, in all transparency, I donated the launch proceeds to St. Jude’s, which is my favorite charity. Because, you know, I have a sore spot for kids and the stuff that they’re dealing with cancer and things like that. So another topic, but I donated all of the launch proceeds to charity. And the book was very successful. And it gave me a platform to help more people to spread the impact. So that is why it is my greatest success today.
That’s great. Yeah. The gratifications are fantastic. What about your biggest failure?
Biggest failure? Um, so many of them it’s hard to know I’ve talked about a couple of them here. You know, there was a time when, if I go back before I became EO President and did leadership and learned and became a different person. In hindsight, I was a terrible manager. And my biggest failure is when I ran my company culture was terrible. I wouldn’t say it was non-existent. But every company has a culture, whether you know it or not. And it was a very poisonous culture. And I remember when, when my wife was pregnant with our first child with her daughter, we had, I think, at the time, we had about six employees, plus the two of us. And during like, one month, while she was pregnant, three of our employees quit. So we lost half of our workforce.
We were like, what’s going on here? Like, what? What is it? Like what, and I was always pointing the finger at them like they’re vindictive, they’re bad. But then I had to realize, you know what, maybe it’s something with me, and I need to change what I’m doing. And that led me to do a lot of inner soul searching. I read this book called, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. And it helped me change my leadership style. And that kind of started me on that journey. But that was probably my biggest failure is not managing my people well, and losing half of my workforce in one month,
I can appreciate that. Man, I appreciate you coming on. Where can people find you? Where can they find your book? Where can they find Zeus’ closet? Where can they learn more about you? Ethan?
Yeah, sure. The best place where it’s kind of the hub of all things that I’m doing is my website, “Ethanking.com”. Just my name, Ethanking.com. You find a link to the book there. The book is called “Wealth Beyond Money”, “Unlocking the six dimensions of success for richness in every area of your life”. You can find that on Amazon. And “Zeus’ closet”, “stuff for Greeks”, it’s just the domains, this closet.com stuff for Brinks calm, we’re on every social media platform. But yeah, just go to my website. And that’ll be the road to all things.
Awesome. And I’ll be sure to add them to the podcast as well. And then, sincerely, really appreciate you coming on. This has been fascinating. I love the personal story. And the journey, congratulations on all the success. I mean, did you ever think 20 years ago, you’d go from, you know, essentially missing a semester of college to now being an international. That’s pretty, that’s a pretty cool journey.
I had no idea. And to be honest, I didn’t even realize it one year ago. But I just follow the path that that life leads, I believe life leaves clues. And I believe that the universe is always conspiring for you. You just have to look for it. And you’ll see where the path is, even when things are going bad. There’s something good happening for you. If you just look for it and lean into it, but no, I didn’t see it back then. And I’m extremely fortunate for everything I’m able to do now and the people I’m able to help.
Found the breadcrumbs and figured it out, man. Congratulations again. Thanks again for joining. Appreciate it.
All right. Thanks, bro. It’s been great.
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FOUNDER, THE FREE AGENT
Beau spent over 14 years in enterprise-level software sales and was exposed to high-level talent by working alongside companies such as Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and more.
In this podcast, Beau aims to interview high performing business leaders in the hope that their insights will bring about real change positive change the businesses of his listeners.